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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Headline of the week

Briar patch justice?

Corrections official sent to prison for sex with inmate

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Quote of the day

President Bush said the United States is still under the threat of attack. Then he went back on vacation. I don't think President Bush really understands the severity of this situation. Like when they first told Bush about the terrorist plot against the airlines, he said, "Let me guess, snakes on a plane?"
-Jay Leno

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Photo of the day

I'm really getting too old to hang around for last call...

(via Cute Overload)

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Quote of the day

Big news on the international front this morning. A cease-fire went into effect between Israel and Hezbollah. Total disaster. We are no longer on the road to World War III. Jesus was half way here. Now he has to turn his cloud of glory and go back to heaven- and it does not get good mileage. Here's the worst part. Guess who brokered this peace in the Middle East? The U.S. and the French working through the UN. The only non-offensive word in that sentence is "through."
-Stephen Colbert

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A different time, a different country

This seems especially relevant given yesterday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor calling the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping unconstitutional and ordering its immediate halt.

It's interesting to note the differences in the approach used by Kennedy and Bush to deal with the media. And it's also interesting to note how important our constitutional rights were to Kennedy:

"Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it."

(click here to listen to a recording of this speech.)

The President and the Press
April 27, 1961

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate very much your generous invitation to be here tonight.

You bear heavy responsibilities these days and an article I read some time ago reminded me of how particularly heavily the burdens of present day events bear upon your profession.

You may remember that in 1851 the New York Herald Tribune, under the sponsorship and publishing of Horace Greeley, employed as its London correspondent an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx.

We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed to Greeley and Managing Editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment, a salary which he and Engels ungratefully labeled as the "lousiest petty bourgeois cheating."

But when all his financial appeals were refused, Marx looked around for other means of livelihood and fame, eventually terminating his relationship with the Tribune and devoting his talents full time to the cause that would bequeath to the world the seeds of Leninism, Stalinism, revolution and the cold war.

If only this capitalistic New York newspaper had treated him more kindly; if only Marx had remained a foreign correspondent, history might have been different. And I hope all publishers will bear this lesson in mind the next time they receive a poverty-stricken appeal for a small increase in the expense account from an obscure newspaperman.

I have selected as the title of my remarks tonight "The President and the Press." Some may suggest that this would be more naturally worded "The President Versus the Press." But those are not my sentiments tonight.

It is true, however, that when a well-known diplomat from another country demanded recently that our State Department repudiate certain newspaper attacks on his colleague it was unnecessary for us to reply that this Administration was not responsible for the press, for the press had already made it clear that it was not responsible for this Administration.

Nevertheless, my purpose here tonight is not to deliver the usual assault on the so-called one-party press. On the contrary, in recent months I have rarely heard any complaints about political bias in the press except from a few Republicans. Nor is it my purpose tonight to discuss or defend the televising of Presidential press conferences. I think it is highly beneficial to have some 20,000,000 Americans regularly sit in on these conferences to observe, if I may say so, the incisive, the intelligent and the courteous qualities displayed by your Washington correspondents.

Nor, finally, are these remarks intended to examine the proper degree of privacy which the press should allow to any President and his family.

If, in the last few months, your White House reporters and photographers have been attending church services with regularity, that has surely done them no harm.

On the other hand, I realize that your staff and wire service photographers may be complaining that they do not enjoy the same green privileges at the local golf courses which they once did.

It is true that my predecessor did not object as I do to pictures of one's golfing skill in action. But neither on the other hand did he ever bean a Secret Service man. My topic tonight is a more sober one, of concern to publishers as well as editors.

I want to talk about our common responsibilities in the face of a common danger. The events of recent weeks may have helped to illuminate that challenge for some; but the dimensions of its threat have loomed large on the horizon for many years. Whatever our hopes may be for the future- for reducing this threat or living with it- there is no escaping either the gravity or the totality of its challenge to our survival and to our security- a challenge that confronts us in unaccustomed ways in every sphere of human activity.

This deadly challenge imposes upon our society two requirements of direct concern both to the press and to the President- two requirements that may seem almost contradictory in tone, but which must be reconciled and fulfilled if we are to meet this national peril. I refer, first, to the need for far greater public information; and, second, to the need for far greater official secrecy.

The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know.

But I do ask every publisher, every editor, and every newsman in the nation to reexamine his own standards, and to recognize the nature of our country's peril. In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort, based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In times of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.

Today no war has been declared- and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions- by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence- on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.

Nevertheless, every democracy recognizes the necessary restraints of national security-and the question remains whether those restraints need to be more strictly observed if we are to oppose this kind of attack as well as outright invasion.

For the facts of the matter are that this nation's foes have openly boasted of acquiring through our newspapers information they would otherwise hire agents to acquire through theft, bribery or espionage; that details of this nation's covert preparations to counter the enemy's covert operations have been available to every newspaper reader, friend and foe alike; that the size, the strength, the location and the nature of our forces and weapons, and our plans and strategy for their use, have all been pinpointed in the press and other news media to a degree sufficient to satisfy any foreign power; and that, in at least one case, the publication of details concerning a secret mechanism whereby satellites were followed required its alteration at the expense of considerable time and money.

The newspapers which printed these stories were loyal, patriotic, responsible and well-meaning. Had we been engaged in open warfare, they undoubtedly would not have published such items. But in the absence of open warfare, they recognized only the tests of journalism and not the tests of national security. And my question tonight is whether additional tests should not now be adopted.

That question is for you alone to answer. No public official should answer it for you. No governmental plan should impose its restraints against your will. But I would be failing in my duty to the Nation, in considering all of the responsibilities that we now bear and all of the means at hand to meet those responsibilities, if I did not commend this problem to your attention, and urge its thoughtful consideration.

On many earlier occasions, I have said-and your newspapers have constantly said-that these are times that appeal to every citizen's sense of sacrifice and self-discipline. They call out to every citizen to weigh his rights and comforts against his obligations to the common good. I cannot now believe that those citizens who serve in the newspaper business consider themselves exempt from that appeal.

I have no intention of establishing a new Office of War Information to govern the flow of news. I am not suggesting any new forms of censorship or new types of security classifications. I have no easy answer to the dilemma that I have posed, and would not seek to impose it if I had one. But I am asking the members of the newspaper profession and the industry in this country to reexamine their own responsibilities, to consider the degree and the nature of the present danger, and to heed the duty of self-restraint which that danger imposes upon us all.

Every newspaper now asks itself, with respect to every story: "Is it news?" All I suggest is that you add the question: "Is it in the interest of the national security?" And I hope that every group in America- unions and businessmen and public officials at every level- will ask the same question of their endeavors, and subject their actions to this same exacting test.

And should the press of America consider and recommend the voluntary assumption of specific new steps or machinery, I can assure you that we will cooperate whole-heartedly with those recommendations.

Perhaps there will be no recommendations. Perhaps there is no answer to the dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war. In times of peace, any discussion of this subject, and any action that results, are both painful and without precedent. But this is a time of peace and peril which knows no precedent in history.

It is the unprecedented nature of this challenge that also gives rise to your second obligation- an obligation which I share. And that is our obligation to inform and alert the American people- to make certain that they possess all the facts that they need, and understand them as well- the perils, the prospects, the purposes of our program and the choices that we face.

No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support an Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers- I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for, as a wise man once said: "An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian law-maker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"- but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

This means greater coverage and analysis of international news- for it is no longer far away and foreign but close at hand and local. It means greater attention to improved understanding of the news as well as improved transmission. And it means, finally, that government at all levels, must meet its obligation to provide you with the fullest possible information outside the narrowest limits of national security- and we intend to do it.

It was early in the Seventeenth Century that Francis Bacon remarked on three recent inventions already transforming the world: the compass, gunpowder and the printing press. Now the links between the nations first forged by the compass have made us all citizens of the world, the hopes and threats of one becoming the hopes and threats of us all. In that one world's effort to live together, the evolution of gunpowder to its ultimate limit has warned mankind of the terrible consequences of failure.

And so it is to the printing press- to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news- that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Especially relevant quote of the day

The fundamentalists believe they have a unique relationship with God, and that they and their ideas are God's ideas and God's premises on the particular issue. Therefore, by definition since they are speaking for God anyone who disagrees with them is inherently wrong. And the next step is: Those who disagree with them are inherently inferior, and in extreme cases- as is the case with some fundamentalists around the world- it makes your opponents sub-humans, so that their lives are not significant. Another thing is that a fundamentalist can't bring himself or herself to negotiate with people who disagree with them because the negotiating process itself is an indication of implied equality. And so this administration, for instance, has a policy of just refusing to talk to someone who is in strong disagreement with them- which is also a radical departure from past history. So these are the kinds of things that cause me concern. And, of course, fundamentalists don't believe they can make mistakes, so when we permit the torture of prisoners in Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, it's just impossible for a fundamentalist to admit that a mistake was made.
-Jimmy Carter

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The very best celebrity interview *ever*....

Samuel L. Jackson on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, having the time of his life, discussing Snakes on a Plane.

(From gorillamask.net)

Includes the clip:

"Enough is enough! I have had it with these *** snakes on this *** plane!"

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Quote of the day

If you can't be happy where you are, it's a cinch you can't be happy where you ain't.
-Charles "Tremendous" Jones

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Why I like my neighborhood...

Found in my mailbox today:

Block Party
Saturday
9-16-06

Bring your own food-you know the drill

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Highly recommended

There are new music artists out there that play songs you'll really like, but you probably won't hear them because, like me, you avoid contemporary radio stations.

Get up to date with Pandora. You tell it what you like; it analyzes the songs and presents music with similar characteristics.

For example, I entered a the popular contemporary Christian song "Shout to the Lord," and a couple songs later it presented the song "Call on Jesus" by Nicole C. Mullena, someone I didn't recognize. I ended up buying the song on iTunes.

This thing really works. As I wandered through my iTunes library, picking songs to add to my Pandora station, it often played tunes before I got around to entering them.

As Pandora presents songs to you, you can give it a thumbs up or down; the system uses your input to fine-tune the selections it plays, so the more you use it, the smarter it gets.

For example, I didn't know Dusty Springfield had a live album where she sang a cover of Natalie Cole's "This Will Be," the song that now seems to be the theme of all romantic comedy trailers. Pandora said it played it for me because it had pop rock qualities, r&b influences, a subtle use of vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, acoustic rhythm piano, meandering melodic phrasing, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, a busy horn section, thru composed melodic style, a vocal-centric aesthetic, major key tonality... well, you get the idea. There are hundreds of attributes Pandora assigns to each song. What's fascinating to me is that it can do something I can't... describe precisely why I like what I like.

Give it a shot. It's free, although you can also subscribe and get some added features.

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Bonus bumper sticker of the day

Of course it hurts; you're getting screwed by an elephant.
(Democratic bumper sticker.)

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Bumper sticker of the day

GOD TOLD ME TO HATE YOU

(via Zay Smith in the Chicago Sun-Times)

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Why I love Kung Fu Monkey

And why you should, too.

"Wait, Aren't You Scared?"

Errr, no. And if you are, you frankly should be a little goddam embarrassed.

No false bravado and it's not that I don't take terrorism seriously. I do, which I why I voted for the guy who believed in securing our ports and fighting terrorism with criminal investigation methods- which is, if we may remind everybody, how this particular plot was busted.

I am just not going to wet my pants every time some guys get arrested in a terror plot. I will do my best to stay informed. I will support the necessary law enforcement agencies. I will take whatever reasonable precautions seem, um, reasonable. But I will not be terrorized. I assume that the terror-ists would like me to be terror-ized, as that is what is says on their nametag, rather than, say, wanting me to surrender to ennui or negative body image, and they're just coming the long way around.

Osama Bin Laden got everything on his Christmas list after 9/11- US out of Saudi Arabia; the greatest military in the world over-extended, pinned down and distracted; the greatest proponent of democracy suddenly alienated from its allies; a US culture verily eager to destroy freedoms that little scumfuck could never even dream to touch himself- I would like to deny him the last little check on the clipboard, i.e. constant terror. I panic, they win. To coin a phrase, Osama Bin Laden can suck my insouciance.

I am absolutely buffaloed by the people who insist I man up and take it in the teeth for the great Clash of Civilizations- "Come ON, people, this is the EPIC LAST WAR!! You just don't have the stones to face that fact head-on!"- who at the whiff of an actual terror plot will, with no apparent sense of irony, transform and run around shrieking, eyes rolling and Hello Kitty panties flashing like Japanese schoolgirls who have just realized that the call is coming from inside the house!

I may have shared too much there.

To be honest, it's not like I'm a brave man. I'm not. At all. It just, well, it doesn't take that much strength of will not to be scared. Who the hell am I supposed to be scared of? Joseph Padilla, dirty bomber who didn't actually know how to build a bomb, had no allies or supplies, and against whom the government case is so weak they're now shuffling him from court to court to avoid the public embarassment of a trial? The fuckwits who were going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with blowtorches? Richard Reid, the Zeppo of suicide bombers? The great Canadian plot that had organized over the internet, was penetrated by the Mounties on day one, and we were told had a TRUCK FULL OF EXPLOSIVES... [which they had bought from the Mounties in a sting operation but hey let's skip right over that]. Or how about the "compound" of Christian cultists in Florida who were planning on blowing up the Sears Tower with... kung fu?

And now these guys. As the initial "OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD THEY CAN BLOW US UP WITH SNAPPLE BOTTLES!!" hysteria subsides, we discover that these guys had been under surveillance, completely penetrated, by no less than three major intelligence agencies. That they were planning on cell phones, and some of them openly travelled to Pakistan (way to keep the cover, Reilly, Ace of Spies). Hell, Chertoff knew about this two weeks ago, and the only reason that some people can scream this headline:

"The London Bombers were within DAYS of trying a dry run!!!"

-- was because MI-5, MI-6, and Scotland Yard let them get that close, so they could suck in the largest number of contacts (again, very spiffy police work). The fact that these wingnuts could have been rolled up, at will, at any time, seems to have competely escaped the media buzz.

This is terrorism's A-game? Sack up, people.

Again, this is not to do anything less than marvel as cool, well-trained, ruthless law-enforcement professionals- who spent decades honing their craft chasing my IRA cousins- execute their job magnificently. Should we take this seriously? DAMN STRAIGHT we take this seriously. Left unchecked, these terror-fanboy bastards would have gone down in history. These cretins' intent was monstrous; they should, and will, all go to jail for a very long time. This is the part where we all breathe a sigh of relief that there are some actual professionals working the job in some countries.

But God gave me a brain, and a modicum of spine. Taking something seriously, and panicking over it are two different things. I do not assign all dangers and risks equal value. Tight little freelance squads with leak-proof operational discipline, like the 7/7 guys,- those I worry about. A nuke coming in through one of ridiculously open ports- I am concerned. Not bio-terror so much, because it's a shitty delivery mechanism. That the Muslim population of England seems to be becoming radicalized enough to sprout up these plots, that's not a good thing to consider. al-Queda involvement- good if true because this means their recruiting is shitty: bad if true because this means they're back in business: bad if false because it means al-Queda has indeed become a "brand": but good if false because it reinforces the idea that they're operationally crippled (and if Zwahari is involved, I personally would like a word with whatever idiot nation took their eyes of the ball and let him escape ...)

... You get the point. There are a million factors in this New World of Terror. You weigh 'em, you process, and then you move on.

You move on, building a better international society so that luddite fundamentalist criminal gangs/cults of personality are further and further marginalized.

Or, if you don't understand 4th Generation Warfare at all, you move on, bombing the shit out of nation-states and handing your opponents massive PR victories. Either way, you move the fuck on.

Maybe it's just, I cast my eyes back on the last century ...

FDR: Oh, I'm sorry, was wiping out our entire Pacific fleet supposed to intimidate us? We have nothing to fear but fear itself, and right now we're coming to kick your ass with brand new destroyers riveted by waitresses. How's that going to feel?

CHURCHILL: Yeah, you keep bombing us. We'll be in the pub, flipping you off. I'm slapping Rolls-Royce engines into untested flying coffins to knock you out of the skies, and then I'm sending angry Welshmen to burn your country from the Rhine to the Polish border.

US. NOW: BE AFRAID!! Oh God, the Brown Bad people could strike any moment! They could strike... NOW!! AHHHH. Okay, how about .. NOW!! AAGAGAHAHAHHAG! Quick, do whatever we tell you, and believe whatever we tell you, or YOU WILL BE KILLED BY BROWN PEOPLE!! PUT DOWN THAT SIPPY CUP!!

... and I'm just a little tired of being on the wrong side of that historical arc.

This is it, folks. This is the world, from now on. Even assuming the War on Terror is a not just a bad metaphor and there is an actual measurable winning point, the short 4GW struggles last fifty years or so. We're going to be stopping one or two of these bastard mass-murder plots a year, minimum, for the rest of our lives. Hell, the way terror tactics and tech evolve, five years from now we're going to be pining for the dudes with the flammable juice boxes.

It's now part of our life. Let's try not to hop like the trained monkeys every time it happens.

I'm just pleased that for once, nobody --

"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances."

-- ahhhh. Never mind.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Quote of the day

If religious people see you as a heathen and heathens as a believer, think- all right!
-Juhani Siljo

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Rare dual sighting

I know of no two people who despise having their photos taken more than Leslie and I do, yet we indulged ourselves Saturday night at her favorite Chicago night spot:

We spent about two hours discussing the arcane, highly complex technicalities of contemporary political ideologies ("Don't quibble about states' rights with me, Leslie. They're evil! Cheney drinks the blood of puppies!") and the rest of the evening bringing each other up to date over the amusement park rides our lives have resembled as of late.

Leslie sort of adopted me when I was stuck in the wilds of Chicago, introducing me to the gang at Emil's and Gino's, helping me move out of the downtown into a real neighborhood, and providing a sympathetic ear and a shoulder on which to cry. She's a true friend and confidante, the sister-in-spirit who gives sage advice and support despite my irrational outbursts and personality defects.

Psst, Leslie. Look at my minimalist links list on the left.

Happy Birthday!

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Oops...

One small step for man, 700-box tape loss for NASA

Original recordings of Apollo moon missions are missing

WASHINGTON (Reuters)- The U.S. government has misplaced the original recording of the first moon landing, including astronaut Neil Armstrong's famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," a NASA spokesman said on Monday.

Armstrong's famous space walk, seen by millions of viewers on July 20, 1969, is among transmissions that NASA has failed to turn up in a year of searching, spokesman Grey Hautaloma said.

"We haven't seen them for quite a while. We've been looking for over a year and they haven't turned up," Hautaloma said.

The tapes also contain data about the health of the astronauts and the condition of the spacecraft. In all, some 700 boxes of transmissions from the Apollo lunar missions are missing, he said.

"I wouldn't say we're worried- we've got all the data. Everything on the tapes we have in one form or another," Hautaloma said.

NASA has retained copies of the television broadcasts and offers several clips on its Web site.

But those images are of lower quality than the originals stored on the missing magnetic tapes.

Because NASA's equipment was not compatible with TV technology of the day, the original transmissions had to be displayed on a monitor and re-shot by a TV camera for broadcast.

Hautaloma said it is possible the tapes will be unplayable even if they are found, because they have degraded significantly over the years- a problem common to magnetic tape and other types of recordable media.

The material was held by the National Archives but returned to NASA sometime in the late 1970s, he said.

"We're looking for paperwork to see where they last were," he said.

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Not quite The Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich...

But close enough.

SAN ANTONIO (AP)- Is it an artesian spring, a broken water pipe or an abandoned well? Lucille Pope's red oak tree has gurgled water for about three months, and experts can't seem to get to the root of the problem.

Pope, 65, has sought answers from the Texas Forest Service, the Edwards Aquifer Authority and nurseries. They have taken pictures and conducted studies, but none have arrived at a firm answer.

"I got a mystery tree," Pope said in Friday editions of the San Antonio-Express News. "What kind of mystery do I have where water comes out of a tree?"

Her son, Lloyd, 47, discovered water leaking from the tree in April. He said it was cool, like it came from the tap. The only damp spot around the tree trunk is where the water lands.

Mark Peterson, a regional community forester from the Texas Forest Service said he believes it could be a spring, but pointed out that would be rare with the drought conditions this summer.

"If it is a burst pipe their monthly bill would be enormous," Peterson said.

Lucille Pope has started to wonder if the water has special properties. Her insurance agent dabbed drops of the water on a spider bite and the welt went away, she said.

"I just want to know if it is a healing tree or blessed water," she said. "That's God's water. Nobody knows but God."

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Must see teevee of the day

9 p.m. "Lost Worlds"

A look at Hitler's vision of a post-World War II Germany, a land where every one is blond, police eye every move and dissent is prohibited, kind of like Idaho but without the pickup trucks. History Channel.

(via the Marin Independent Journal)

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Penciling in Armageddon

If the end of the world is indeed scheduled for a week from tomorrow, I'm actually kind of ok with it.

It takes the pressure off of cutting the grass this week.

I won't have to worry about the closing schedule for refinancing the house, or fixing that hole in the wall in the guest bathroom.

I've actually had a marvelous social life for the last four months, meeting a number of wonderful folk and staying out late Saturday nights and listening to live oldies bands.

I got to run the sound board for my church's contemporary service, and the purple daisies are a marvelous extended family.

I got to accompany my daughter on guitar at three services at church.

I've never been closer to the dog, and even the cat's been tolerable (especially since I got the water pistol).

I'm getting along really well with my kids. With my son's fiance, I've also picked up another brilliant and beautiful daughter.

Mom and I had a lot of fun in Chicago last weekend, even if the bobby pins in her hair set off all the metal detectors at Greater Pitt and put the east coast on DEFCON 2.

The weather in Chicago was grand; Mom and I walked over six miles on Saturday. I saw lots of friends at the company picnic. My blogdaughter took me to the Redhead Piano Bar, where we listened to great music until 3 am, and a lady from the next table who was playing the "Girls Night Out" game sat on my lap and asked for a hug.

Wow. What more could a guy want? If you're gonna have your ticket punched, it might as well be when you're at the top of your game.

To my buddy on the coast in Hilton Head... do me a favor, please. Check the beach next Monday evening. If you see a note that says, "So long, and thanks for all the fish," give me a call. I usually vacuum on Monday nights, but there are other things I'd prefer to do if no one's going to be around to appreciate the lack of pet hair on Tuesday morning.

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Quotes of the day (Inane Security Edition)

Jay Leno:

The airlines are saying no more hair gels, shampoos, makeup or hair spray allowed on carry-on bags. Who's attacking us? Drag queens?

They also said men cannot carry on shaving cream. Why?? When was the last time you saw an Islamic militant guy with a can of shaving cream?

Officials say the terrorists targeted United, American and Continental airlines. You know what that means? Even terrorists won't fly Southwest.

Conan O'Brien:

Tightened airport security will require passengers to check all liquids and electronics, remove all shoes, belts, and neckties, and drive to their destinations.

After Joan Rivers has her makeup confiscated by airport security, even the terrorists will realize they've gone too far.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Inspirational secret of the week

From The Covert Comic:

If you ever get to thinking you're superior to someone who asks, "Would you like fries with that," remember: you're standing in line to buy fast food.

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Copyright © 1987-2017 by Kevin G. Barkes
All rights reserved.
Violators will be prosecuted.
So there.  
The kgb@kgb.com e-mail address is now something other than kgb@kgb.com saga.
kgbreport.com used to be kgb.com until December, 2007 when the domain name broker Trout Zimmer made an offer I couldn't refuse. Giving up kgb.com and adopting kgbreport.com created a significant problem, however. I had acquired the kgb.com domain name in 1993, and had since that time used kgb@kgb.com as my sole e-mail address. How to let people know that kgb@kgb.com was no longer kgb@kgb.com but rather kgbarkes@gmail.com which is longer than kgb@kgb.com and more letters to type than kgb@kgb.com and somehow less aesthetically pleasing than kgb@kgb.com but actually just as functional as kgb@kgb.com? I sent e-mails from the kgb@kgb.com address to just about everybody I knew who had used kgb@kgb.com in the past decade and a half but noticed that some people just didn't seem to get the word about the kgb@kgb.com change. So it occurred to me that if I were generate some literate, valid text in which kgb@kgb.com was repeated numerous times and posted it on a bunch of different pages- say, a blog indexed by Google- that someone looking for kgb@kgb.com would notice this paragraph repeated in hundreds of locations, would read it, and figure out that kgb@kgb.com no longer is the kgb@kgb.com they thought it was. That's the theory, anyway. kgb@kgb.com. Ok, I'm done. Move along. Nothing to see here...

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Crystal Methodist


Laugh while you can, monkey-boy


I am a professional. Do not try this at home.


I canna change the laws of physics


As a matter of fact, I *am* the boss of you.
(as a matter of fact, i AM the boss of you.)


Truly great madness cannot be achieved without signficant intelligence


I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.


Left wing liberal nut job


Flies spread disease. Keep yours zipped.


Eff the ineffable, scrute the inscrutable.


If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.


If evolution is just a theory, why am I surrounded by monkeys?


Nutrition makes me puke


Feral Geek


eat wisely


Dyslexics have more fnu!


It's here!

Eff and Scrute

440 pages, over 11,000 quotations!

Eff the Ineffable, Scrute the Inscrutable


get kgb krap!

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